MONDAY FUNDAY – September 11, 2017

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date, and adapted by Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts with a children’s/YA focus. The Sunday Post is hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. These weekly roundups are a great way to discover new blogs and bloggers, share some of the titles you’ve been enjoying, and add to your ever-growing to-read list.

Here are a couple books I’ve enjoyed this week!

A Very Big Bunny : Marisabina Russo

AMELIA IS A VERY BIG BUNNY. At recess, the other bunnies tell her that her feet are too long for hopscotch, they say she’s too tall to jump rope, and of course, no one will get on the seesaw with her. Amelia is a very big and lonely bunny. But when a new very small bunny named Susannah arrives in the classroom, something amazing happens. Readers will delight as they watch Amelia transform from a shy bunny into a confident friend. From author-illustrator Marisabina Russo comes an endearing tale that celebrates the power of friendship and the fun of standing out in a crowd. With lively accessible artwork, here is the perfect book for every little bunny who worries about fitting in.

Books about fitting in, being yourself and dealing with bullies abound in children’s literature. What makes A Very Big Bunny special is the way in which author/illustrator Marisabina Russo really seems to understand children and their experiences. Amelia, the titular very big bunny, feels sad, lonely and left out. When a very small bunny named Susannah arrives, it might seem natural that the two outcasts should become immediate friends – in fact, one Goodreads reviewer expressed disappointment that this wasn’t the case.

Russo, however, understands that life isn’t always this simple. It can be difficult for a child who has been left out or teased to learn to trust other children again. Tragically a child’s self-esteem can be so damaged that it can be difficult for them to fathom why another child might want to be friends with them at all.

And unfortunately, when someone has been repeatedly teased or left out by their peers, there can be a terrible temptation to turn around and treat someone else poorly, in order to feel more important, and to experience some measure of power or control by doing to other people what has been done to them.

Amelia isn’t a bad bunny, she’s just a sad and hurt bunny, and it takes her a while to warm up to the strange new little bunny, and to realise that Susannah actually wants to be her friend. Eventually, though, the two become the best of friends, and discover that the truest friends are the ones who don’t just love us in spite of the things that make us different, but because of them.

I also appreciated the fact that while Amelia’s classmates do comment on her and Susannah’s size, it is their actions that really make Amelia feel so lonely and left out, which just serves to emphasise how nuanced and complex classroom dynamics can be, and how important it is to remind children that their actions can have just as much impact on others as their words. Avoiding name-calling isn’t enough – to truly create a welcoming, inclusive environment we need to speak with our actions, as well.

Frazzled – Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom : Booki Vivat

Meet Abbie Wu. Abbie is in crisis—and not just because she’s starting middle school or because she’s stuck in a family that doesn’t quite get her or because everyone seems to have a Thing except her. Abbie Wu is always in crisis.

From author and professional doodler Booki Vivat, Frazzled dives right into the mind of this hilariously neurotic middle school girl as she tries to figure out who she is and where she belongs. Akin to Smile by Raina Telgemeier, Frazzled is heavily illustrated, embarrassingly honest, and sure to appeal to anyone in the middle of figuring out how to survive the everyday disasters of growing up.

Oh. My. Goodness. I love Abbie. I love, love, love Abbie. As a fellow neurotic worrywart who spent her entire youth in a state of near-panic, I have a feeling that Abbie and I would have been fast friends. Booki Vivat absolutely nails what it’s like to be “always in crisis”, worrying about this, that and the other, to the confusion (and amusement) of well-meaning family and friends who think you should just “stop worrying”.

Image result for frazzled abbi wu

So many children will be able to relate to Abbi and her struggle to find her “thing” – what’s a girl to do when everyone else seems to have found their thing, the one thing that they’re good at, passionate about, or will be known for? In Abbi’s case, her “thing” might just involve a hilarious bit of cafeteria social activism!

Abbi is such a delightful character, as are her family and friends. The book is filled with doodles and drawings that will appeal to fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dork Diaries and Dear Dumb Diary. It’s also nice to see a Chinese girl taking center stage in a series! Definitely a fun series to check out.

Have a great week, friends!

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28 Comments

  • Reply admin

    These books look so cute! I hope you enjoy them.

    Here’s my It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? post.

    September 11, 2017 at 7:29 am
  • Reply Lisa Maucione (@DrLMaucione)

    Frazzled sounds like a book that will appeal to many of my readers, including those more reluctant readers. Definitely one I’m going to check out.

    September 11, 2017 at 10:09 am
  • Reply readerbuzz

    Frazzled looks incredibly fun. I need to look for it!

    It’s the last day to apply to be a Cybils judge. I hope anyone interested in kidlit will apply. The link is in my post today: https://readerbuzz.blogspot.com/2017/09/life-after-hurricane.html

    September 11, 2017 at 10:23 am
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      It’s super fun, and so refreshing to see an Asian protagonist star in a story that doesn’t feel like it’s filled with stereotypes.

      September 12, 2017 at 4:46 pm
  • Reply Amber

    Oh boy, I needed Frazzled when I was 12. Abbi and I would have been fast friends, too.

    Happy Monday!

    September 11, 2017 at 12:45 pm
  • Reply lindabaie

    I will look for A Very Big Bunny and note this Frazzled book, too, Jane. Both seem like needed books for different reasons and ages.

    September 11, 2017 at 12:46 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      Agreed – I really appreciate it when authors seem to vividly remember just what it feels like to be a kid.

      September 12, 2017 at 4:59 pm
  • Reply Bookish Michelle (@bookishmichelle)

    Both books look great! Especially A Very Big Bunny.

    September 11, 2017 at 2:28 pm
  • Reply Elisabeth Ellington

    As a fellow worrier, I think I’ll be able to relate to Frazzled as well. This one isn’t on my radar, and I’m always looking for more books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid to pass along to readers who love that series. Thank you!

    September 11, 2017 at 3:07 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      It’s always refreshing to find a worrier character who isn’t magically “cured” of their worrying by the end of the book, because for most of us, it’s simply a life-long part of who we are!

      September 12, 2017 at 5:21 pm
  • Reply Stacy Mozer

    Both books sound really interesting. Thanks for pointing them out!

    September 11, 2017 at 9:06 pm
  • Reply Michele

    I can’t wait for the next Frazzled book later this month!
    I’ll have to look for Bunny – would be a good one to have in primary schools.

    September 11, 2017 at 10:04 pm
  • Reply Barrie

    adding Frazzled to my TBR! With 2 middle-schoolers this one is going there immediately!

    September 11, 2017 at 10:11 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      Hurray!

      Funnily enough we don’t have middle schools where I’m from – it always sounded so strange and interesting to me reading about “middle school” when I was a kid!

      September 12, 2017 at 5:22 pm
  • Reply Tammy and Clare

    Thanks for these recommendations – We will have to check out A Very Big Bunny. It sounds like a book that pushes readers to think about the complexities of relationships.

    September 11, 2017 at 10:25 pm
    • Reply Jane the Raincity Librarian

      Yes, exactly – I liked that everything did work out in the end, but not automatically, and not without a bit of trouble along the way, just like real life!

      September 12, 2017 at 5:26 pm
  • Reply Pussreboots

    My daughter and I love Frazzled! There’s a second book coming out soon. Come see what I’m reading

    September 11, 2017 at 11:02 pm
  • Reply Jana Eschner (@JanaTheTeacher)

    Frazzled looks like a terrific book for middle grade readers. I’ll have to check it out!

    September 12, 2017 at 12:21 am
  • Reply lauramossa

    A Big Bunny is a new title for me. I’ll definitely check this book out. It would be good for #classroombookaday. Thanks!

    September 12, 2017 at 1:00 am
  • Reply crbrunelle

    I think I have A Big Bunny in my library, but I don’t think I’ve read it. Frazzled looks great! I will look for it. 🙂

    September 12, 2017 at 2:29 am
  • Reply cweichel

    I had to stop reading and put A Big Bunny on hold. I see that Frazzled is available as an audiobook. Do you think it will work in that format?

    September 12, 2017 at 2:49 am
  • Reply Greg Hill

    Aww A Very Big Bunny looks cute! And Frazzled I’m sure will appeal t many new middle schoolers.

    September 12, 2017 at 3:26 am
  • Reply Myra GB

    I am liking the look of A Very Big Bunny – looks fun!

    September 13, 2017 at 3:30 am
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